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Lamentations 3:4-6

Context

ב (Bet)

3:4 He has made my mortal skin 1  waste away;

he has broken my bones.

3:5 He has besieged 2  and surrounded 3  me

with bitter hardship. 4 

3:6 He has made me reside in deepest darkness 5 

like those who died long ago.

1 tn Heb “my flesh and my skin.” The two nouns joined with ו (vav), בְשָׂרִי וְעוֹרִי (basari vÿori, “my flesh and my skin”), form a nominal hendiadys: the first functions adjectivally and the second retains its full nominal sense: “my mortal skin.”

2 tn Heb “he has built against me.” The verb בָּנָה (banah, “to build”) followed by the preposition עַל (’al, “against”) often refers to the action of building siege-works against a city, that is, to besiege a city (e.g., Deut 20:2; 2 Kgs 25:1; Eccl 9:14; Jer 52:4; Ezek 4:2; 17:17; 21:27). Normally, an explicit accusative direct object is used (e.g., מָצוֹד [matsor] or מָצוֹדִים [matsorim]); however, here, the expression is used absolutely without an explicit accusative [BDB 124 s.v. בָּנָה 1a.η]).

3 tn The verb נָקַף (naqaf, “to surround”) refers to the military action of an army surrounding a besieged city by placing army encampments all around the city, to prevent anyone in the city from escaping (2 Kgs 6:14; 11:8; Pss 17:9; 88:18; Job 19:6).

4 tn Heb “with bitterness and hardship.” The nouns רֹאשׁ וּתְלָאָה (rosh utÿlaah, lit. “bitterness and hardship”) function as adverbial accusatives of manner: “with bitterness and hardship.” The two nouns רֹאשׁ וּתְלָאָה (rosh utÿlaah, “bitterness and hardship”) form a nominal hendiadys: the second retains its full nominal sense, while the first functions adverbially: “bitter hardship.” The noun II רֹאשׁ (rosh, “bitterness”) should not be confused with the common homonymic root I רֹאשׁ (rosh, “head”). The noun תְּלָאָה (tÿlaah, “hardship”) is used elsewhere in reference to the distress of Israel in Egypt (Num 20:14), in the wilderness (Exod 18:8), and in exile (Neh 9:32).

5 tn The plural form of the noun מַחֲשַׁכִּים (makhashakkim, “darknesses”) is an example of the plural of intensity (see IBHS 122 §7.4.3a).



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